MDC faces split?


HARARE – Political analysts fear that the MDC faces another split as it emerges that there is a group in the party which is clamouring for the removal of their leader Morgan Tsvangirai following the party’s loss in the July 31 disputed poll.

Speculation of a possible splinter has increased and two weeks ago, influential MDC member Roy Bennett demanded that Tsvangirai resigns, a view reportedly shared by some top officials in the party.

However, the majority in the MDC are reportedly backing Tsvangirai saying he should lead the party in the next elections.

The MDC leadership has maintained that it would be folly to blame Tsvangirai for the loss saying Zanu PF rigged the elections while respected political analysts like Eldred Masunungure have in the past attributed the party’s loss to complacency.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, head of International Socialist Organisation in Zimbabwe said the MDC lost the election because they lost touch with their constituency, mainly the poor working class.

The party’s poor performance during the election has given rise to dissenting voices within the party which enjoyed popular support over the past decade.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora disputed claims that the party was in trouble.

“There is nothing like that. There is just one MDC united behind president Tsvangirai,” Mwonzora said.

Maxwell Saungweme, a political analyst says a split in the MDC is inevitable because there has been a series of tactical mistakes and lack of coherent leadership before and after the July 31 elections.

He said splinter groups within the party were already in existence and were comprised of losing members of Parliament who agreed with Bennett.

“Even what happened in the past week regarding mayoral elections, shows a party whose centre is no longer holding. There are also many adventurous and power hungry officials within the MDC-T at present who think Tsvangirai is the weak link in the party’s chain at present. Given all these factors, it is not unfounded that people can talk of a possible split with the MDC-T. A split is a possibility and might be coming soon,” Saungweme said.

He added: “In any case, after failing to wrestle power from Mugabe three times in a row and even after amending the party’s Constitution to allow Tsvangirai a third term at the party’s helm, common sense should be telling Tsvangirai to step down. His tendency to want to cling to power under these circumstances will inevitably cause another split.”

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespear Hamauswa  echoed the same sentiments but added that a split might prove positive for the MDC leader.

“If anything, he (Tsvangirai) might benefit from the split if it becomes inevitable, but at the same time he should also use the other faction to his benefit. They all have interests, he can manipulate their interests and focus on leadership change, then he can set up a committee to steer the discussion structured in a way that will leave his buddies in control,” he said.

He said by doing so, the committee would then take its time and divert their focus from attack.

The former trade union boss has also come under fire from some of his followers who accuse him of having double standards.

After the election results were announced, Tsvangirai said his party would not take part in government activities saying Zanu PF should go it alone.

In an interview with First TV recently, Tsvangirai who recently appointed a shadow cabinet said he was working hard to ensure the party did not disintegrate.

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